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Kaspersky Lab, makers of popular anti-virus software, are at the center of cyber-security chaos as allegations of Russian hacking are being tied back to the company’s product.
According to the report, Kaspersky software, which is installed on over 400 million PCs around the world, allowed the hackers to search the contents of computers using the anti-virus tools, in order to find potentially sensitive government data.
The report also indicates that while the hacking initially took place in 2015, it was discovered that it continued until the spring of last year.
In a response to the report, Kaspersky Lab issued a statement on their website, saying:
“Kaspersky Lab has not been provided any evidence substantiating the company’s involvement in the alleged incident… and it is unfortunate that news coverage of unproven claims continue to perpetuate accusations about the company.”
“However, as the trustworthiness and integrity of our products are fundamental to our business, we are seriously concerned about the article’s implications that attackers may have exploited our software. We reiterate our willingness to work alongside U.S. authorities to address any concerns they may have about our products and respectfully request any relevant information that would enable the company to begin an investigation at the earliest opportunity…Kaspersky Lab does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia…”
While Kaspersky Lab claims they did not work with any governments, former N.S.A. operator Blake Darché says “Antivirus is the ultimate back door… it provides consistent, reliable and remote access that can be used for any purpose.” Another security expert, Andrei Soldatov, insists customers should be “very, very skeptical” of the claim that the government cannot access Kaspersky anti-virus data.
Unfortunately for Kaspersky Lab, the damage may already be done, both in regards to personal data and public perception of the brand. It is also a stark reminder that software can be used against you in the wrong hands.